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  #1  
Old 07-26-2011, 12:49 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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First aid - Can Purell replace rubbing alcohol?

First aid for minor cuts, scratches, abrasions or bug bites usually involved cotton balls and a bottle of 70% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

Is it ok to squirt Purell onto the wound instead?

Is there any reason to buy Isopropyl rubbing alcohol anymore? Purell is a gelled version of ethyl alcohol. The generic hand sanitizers are Isopropyl. Is that the same solution?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purell

Last edited by aceplace57; 07-26-2011 at 12:53 PM..
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  #2  
Old 07-26-2011, 01:39 PM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is online now
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Ethyl and isopropyl are different alcohols, but as an antiseptic they're prety much equivalent. Purell ought to work fine in most cases. However, I'd be careful to avoid putting large gobs of it in an open wound, since I believe alcohol can cause damage. A thin layer applied with a damp cotton ball will evaporate quickly, but a large gob will just sit there and be absorbed into the wound.
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:57 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Good point. It would be better to squirt the cotton ball with Purell. Let it soak the cotton and then wipe the wound.

I'd heard before that rubbing alcohol shouldn't be used on deep wounds.

Last edited by aceplace57; 07-26-2011 at 01:58 PM..
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:00 PM
Lasciel Lasciel is offline
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People, esp. elderly and small children, can get alcohol poisoning from absorbing Purell through their skin. One case I remember had a daycare where they were getting Purelled about 40 times a day, and half the daycare ended up in the hospital.

If you use it on wounds, rinse it clean with water immediately afterwards.

(you're supposed to do that anyway, as Purell/alcohol only kills the germs, and then you've got lots of dead germs along with really clean dirt hanging about on your skin/open wound.)

ETA - if you're really worried about portability, go to a pharmacy and get those little sealed alcohol swab packets. They keep just fine, and work better than a cotton ball anyway.

Last edited by Lasciel; 07-26-2011 at 02:01 PM..
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  #5  
Old 07-26-2011, 02:24 PM
LawMonkey LawMonkey is offline
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Note that Purell is at least usually scented as well; the perfume, while probably harmless, might make the process somewhat more painful. And as I think about it now, they've often also got some sort of moisturizer in them to keep from drying out your hands. I'd stick with rubbing alcohol, myself.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:57 PM
Weaver Weaver is offline
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I've actually used sanitizer for first aid purposes since I didn't have anything else to hand. It didn't seem to do any harm, however it stung like mad.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:36 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Actually, neither is very good. Neither is H2O2. Pure, clean water with some ordinary soap is fine if the wound needs cleaning.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:51 PM
araminty araminty is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasciel View Post
People, esp. elderly and small children, can get alcohol poisoning from absorbing Purell through their skin. One case I remember had a daycare where they were getting Purelled about 40 times a day, and half the daycare ended up in the hospital.
Uh, cite? The main issue with kids and hand sanitizer is if they somehow ingest it, licking it off their skin or squirting the bottle into their mouth.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:55 PM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
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The Mayo Clinic recommends antibiotic ointment for the wound itself rather than a disinfectant.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-cuts/FA00042
Quote:
2. Clean the wound. Rinse out the wound with clear water. Soap can irritate the wound, so try to keep it out of the actual wound. If dirt or debris remains in the wound after washing, use tweezers cleaned with alcohol to remove the particles. If debris still remains, see your doctor. Thorough cleaning reduces the risk of infection and tetanus. To clean the area around the wound, use soap and a washcloth. There's no need to use hydrogen peroxide, iodine or an iodine-containing cleanser.

3. Apply an antibiotic. After you clean the wound, apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment such as Neosporin or Polysporin to help keep the surface moist. The products don't make the wound heal faster, but they can discourage infection and help your body's natural healing process. Certain ingredients in some ointments can cause a mild rash in some people. If a rash appears, stop using the ointment.
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  #10  
Old 07-26-2011, 10:24 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Actually, neither is very good. Neither is H2O2. Pure, clean water with some ordinary soap is fine if the wound needs cleaning.
Yes, this. Water (with soap if you must) followed by triple antibiotic ointment and bandaging is all that's recommended for first aid for minor cuts and scrapes these days. Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol damage cells and tissues.

Now...in reality? I work First Aid at several festivals, and EVERYONE still uses hydrogen peroxide or alcohol (or Purell, if that's all you have) or even providone-iodine solution on fresh cuts. Old habits die hard, especially when treating dirty hippies in a camping environment!
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  #11  
Old 07-26-2011, 11:55 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Yes, this. Water (with soap if you must) followed by triple antibiotic ointment and bandaging is all that's recommended for first aid for minor cuts and scrapes these days. Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol damage cells and tissues.

Now...in reality? I work First Aid at several festivals, and EVERYONE still uses hydrogen peroxide or alcohol (or Purell, if that's all you have) or even providone-iodine solution on fresh cuts. Old habits die hard, especially when treating dirty hippies in a camping environment!
They are both Ok when you have nothing better for wound wash. But yes, you're right.
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